Once a project has been filmed and the production process is complete, the film then moves into post-production where the editing process begins. The craft of editing consists of selecting, combining, and trimming sounds and visual images after they have been recorded.In classical, analog style editing, this was done at the end of the filming process and required a whole separate team. Now in the digital age, editing can be done side by side the film process.
The editing team has a lot of control over each individual clip, and decides whether how each shot if cut or faded, depending on the director and producers vision. This takes a lot of time and skill to edit large amounts of video and audio, especially under a tight deadline.
Like I’ve discussed in previous posts, editors will choose to follow a certain aesthetic that the director has set forth in the filming process. In realism, the editor will do everything in the editing process to make sure it looks as true to real life as possible, whether that means edited from the first person perspective or third person, viewing from afar.
In modernism, the editor will make the editing process evident, rather than trying to hide the edits like in realism. The editor can draw attention to a certain aspect of film by causing a dramatic edit that draws an emotional reaction from the audience. Editors in the modernism aesthetic are given a little more freedom and creativity to showcase their artistic side.
Postmodernism takes the editing process even further by piecing unlike sounds and images together to create dramatic scenes. The audience might even find the collages of video to be disorienting or hard to follow, but it is done on purpose to achieve a specific reaction to the scenes in the film. An example of a dramatic enactment that was staged as a direct cinema interview, was in Mitch Block’s No Lies.
One of my favorite films, Fight Club, definitely varies between realism and modernism editing aesthetics. While the film feels authentic and real in many scenes, there are times the editing process takes a turn toward the modernistic approach and creates dramatic, jarring scenes.